to think cooking a decent meal with a toddler under your feet isn't worth it?(22 Posts)
Resolved I was going to make a proper roast dinner yesterday - nothing too ambitious, just a chicken, roast potatoes and veg.
We have a small kitchen and a curious 2yo. Little fingers tried to grab a carrot whilst I was in the middle of chopping it. Hands were too close to hot pans and ovens. Toy cars appeared under my feet whilst I was carrying pans of boiling water. And then of course resulting meal was entirely rejected by toddler.
How do you cook when you've got small people around - it's just impossible!
Prep when toddler is napping if you can?
Highchair and some toys, playpen and some toys. CBeebies? I assume there are no other adults around to look after the child?
How is your home set up?
I don't let my 2 year old in the kitchen when I'm cooking, but our kitchen is right next to the lounge with glass sliding doors in between, so it's no great trauma.
Do you have (or have room for) a small table in your kitchen? I normally set dd up there with some painting (those "magic" painting books where you just use water are the best) or a snack while I prep the food.
Or she plays in her pretend kitchen and thinks she's helping.
As long as I chat she mostly lets me get on with stuff
mummy mummy LOOK mummy
Or I put peppa pig on the television.
It isn't easy though.
I have two DC three and nearly two. I peel the veg and potatoes and leave in ice cold water over night. When it comes to draining veg or whatever, I have a stash of blueberries or cheerios and stick cbeebies on to distract them.
I also cook with them but say a big 'ah ah. no' when they try to touch a knife (I give them a spoon and something to stir like dry pasta ) or ouch hot.. So thry know not to go nesr the oven.. they just want to be involved
Batch cooking is worth doing
You cook with them.
DD happiest when helping to cut veg with a plastic knife. She is very good at moving chopped veg from the board into a bowl and then helping me tip the veg into the pan when needed. She seperates onions/leeks. She also helps stir the pan - very carefully as hot.
She also washes up (ie gets soaked) and plays with her cooking set.
She has a learning tower so she is safely at height for the worktop. You could also push a chair against the worktop (in a corner if you have one).
Thanks for the suggestions - normally one or more of the above keeps him out of harms way, but a combination of things meant it all went to pieces yesterday - DH was out, and I'd used up all my options for distracting him.
I normally restrict myself to things I can prepare in 10-15 mins if I have no one else to help, during which DS can be occupied in his high chair with a snack or colouring book (and I agree those magic drawing pads are genius)
I'm a nanny - sometimes we do a cheats roast - so chop batons of veg, and then add chicken breasts, then roast in the oven all in the same tray; so I only have to do 10 minutes prep and it's all done within 30 minutes.
We have an open plan kitchen at work - with babies I either place in the high chair with toys or put on the floor away from the oven with all the pots/pans and utensils, older children are set up at the table - doing an activity - playdough/stickers/drawing OR I do prep when asleep.
I make proper roast dinner and pudding every sunday, it's what we do, no matter what age the kids are. They help. If they are babies they are just in a sling but at toddler age they help. Breaking eggs, whisking, washing and peeling vegetables all popular activities. Couple of years later they help properly. Couple of years after that they can do it themselves - that's the light at the end of the tunnel!
We just shut the baby gate in the living room and cook in the kitchen
We are one room away. The room has been child proofed and we keep an ear out if we are needed
I have a baby gate on the kitchen and at the moment the kids are content I nip into the kitchen and prep (open plan). Sometimes that is at 10am nap time for 2yr old whilst 4 yr old has a snack/watches tv. I just seize the moment as it arises!
Oh no, my 16 month old is hard work with cooking and I was hoping she'd improve as she became older 😥
At the moment I tend to cook the more long winded meals like moussaka at the weekend when DP can occupy dd. Otherwise I tend to use the slow cooker as I can start chopping the veg when she's having breakfast or she's sitting in front of cbeebies in the living room (small house so I can see her whilst in the kitchen)
I've had her standing on a chair a few times whilst I'm chopping/cooking but our kitchen is so small there's been a few near misses similar to your examples.
We have a ate on the kitchen but more often than not, my 2 and 1 year old are happiest sitting at the table 'helping' me. So I'll peel a load of veg, chop it, and the kids job is to put the chopped veg into the pot
takes them aaaaages while I prep everything else. Once the pots start boiling, everyone is herded into the sittingroom to play.
Proper roast dinner requires a prior ninety minutes of DH looking after DS. No DH, no roast.
My DS helps. I cook from scratch most nights because I really enjoy cooking and I'm a lone parent so nobody to help watch him! I get DS with pots and pans on the floor so he feels like he's helping and I let him add the cold ingredients to the pans and trays etc. We did a chilli con carne tonight and he put all the spices in for me, helped weigh the rice etc. He's 3 and a half now so easier to deal with but I've always done it that way. 🙂
i have a wooden IKEA stool that my 2 year old stands on helps me.
started it at about 13 months, if we hadnt started this we would have all die of starvation.
he counts things out, breaks and whisks eggs, pour puts things i pots etc. he has his own special knife
Depends if they are 2 or 3 maybe, but my 3 year old helps me.
He cuts mushrooms with a normal metal knife you eat dinner with
Spoons out the garlic from last garlic jar
Shakes in the spices
Stirs the stir fry/bolognaise
Pours things in etc
I like him being involved as my mum always involved me and gravy was 'my job' from about 5/6 years old. And making stuffing with sausage meat, eggs etc was always my job from about 7/8.
It takes longer but keeps them entertained, and might make them eat more if they made it, my DS has an apron and little oven gloves etc.
My 3 year old managed to cut himself on a normal metal dinner knife whilst "helping"on Sunday He kind of stabbed himself in the hand with it, no idea how He is the most accident prone child ever though. They love helping though ..at age 2 and under I would just give them a bowl of dry pasta & some pots and pans and crack on.
It's not easy but there are a few ways round it. I often prep potatoes and vegetables ahead of time, when DS is asleep or with DH. Leave peeled potatoes in cold water and they won't go funny. Dice vegetables and put in zip lock bag in the fridge.
One pan/one dish meals are the way forward.
Take a big oven tray and lightly coat with olive oil. Add quartered potatoes, quartered red onions, sliced red and green peppers, and skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs. Sprinkle the top with olive oil and bake in the oven.
One-pan pasta works well too. Skin some nice sausages and fry in olive oil, breaking apart until resembling course mince. Add diced onion and celery, sauteing until softened. Stir in tomato paste and cook for a minute or so. Stir in dried macaroni. Top with chicken stock until just covered, bring to the boil then simmer, stirring occasionally. Add cannellini beans towards the end of cooking. It's ready when the pasta is cooked, and as it has absorbed most of the liquid you will have a lovely one-pan pasta dish. Add a bit of parmesan and chopped parsley.
I also rarely cook a whole chicken. CBA. I buy rotisserie chickens from the local shop and use the wing tips to make the gravy.
This exact thing happens to me all the time. One twin wants to be under my feet, opening cupboards and playing with his cars and the other boy noses around for food. I can't keep them out the kitchen as it's open plan with the living room.
Nothing more gutting than preparing a nice meal to see it chucked all over the carpet by toddlers who would have preferred plain pasta and hotdogs.
You're right, it isn't worth it.
If you're doing a meal which they can 'help' with (and is easily within your capabilities to make while supervising them) then great
If it's something like a roast with lots of different elements that needs your full attention to bring everything together at the same time then kids get booted out of the kitchen on pain of death.
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